Neha has been with TPL for nearly seven years handling the responsibility of promoting various brand like Times Pro and Times TSW and is a part of the leadership team in the organisation. She brings to TPL, an experience of over 12 years across various sectors like Aviation, EdTech, and Banking. Neha has been instrumental in branding of several of TPL’s offering and launching several products and services. Her sectoral expertise has helped the brand build a robust social media presence and across the news media to make Times Professional Learning a brand to reckon with.
Empowering women through appropriate employment opportunities is critical for the sustainable and equitable development of the economy. Currently, women face several obstacles due lack of education and skills. Women constitute only 26 percent of the workforce, which drops further as seniority increases. Several women take a break from work due to major life events such as marriage or motherhood. They tend to take up caregiver roles that add to the responsibilities and make it harder for them to upskill themselves to augment their expertise. It results in fewer women in leadership roles and is evidenced by 3.6 percent board chairpersons in 2021were women.
Women comprise around 48 percent of the total population, but only 26 per cent represent that working population. For organisations, gender diversity is crucial to encourage different perspectives and ideas and foster innovation – a vital chord to attain success globally. Greater female participation in the economy can boost growth and have better developmental outcomes by reducing gender-based income inequality. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Study, if women equally participates in the economy, it could led to an increase in the annual global GDP up to USD 28 trillion (26 percent), by 2025. Hence, organisations and economies stand to benefit by focusing on the economic potential of improving workforce parity among men and women.
It is important to address the disparities in employment opportunities to achieve gender equality in workplaces. Companies need to adopt a gendered lens and restructure policies and incentives to help overcome the challenges faced by this underrepresented section of the workforce. It will help bring equity to the labour force and unlock the social and economic transformation of the country.
Achieve gender equality across industries by increasing the female employment rates
Organisations must work toward promoting gender equality by making a commitment to achieve equitable gender representation, fostering an inclusive company culture, and developing favourable policies towards work-life balance. Significantly, companies should devise effective hiring policies that attract and retain top talent sans prejudices. Having unbiased hiring and retention policies and raising awareness will tackle gender stereotypes at all levels of the organisation.
To retain women employees, organisations should introduce policies that are oriented towards making women feel safe and comfortable in their work environments. Forming sexual harassment committees to ensure zero tolerance and supporting mothers through a robust maternity leave policy are steps in the direction.
Educate, upskill, and reskill women
Upskilling and reskilling will enable women to advance in the business world disrupted by rapid technological transformations. Studies reveal that access to finance and soft skills training can encourage girls and women to feel more self-confident and pursue employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to become independent. Women graduating from colleges should be given access to new skills to transition seamlessly across sectors through training programmes.
Women already possess some soft skills, such as empathy, effective communication, conflict management, and adaptability that are essential to becoming good leaders. Businesses need to acknowledge this and take affirmative action to onboard more women to leadership positions. Organisations can also partner with training institutions and edtech companies to empower their female employees with subject-matter expertise and help them gain the skills and confidence necessary to lead in the boardroom.
Provide entrepreneurship opportunities for women
COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to accelerate toward greater inclusion of women in the workforce and encourage women entrepreneurs. Currently, 13.7 per cent of entrepreneurs in India are women and have able to access a small piece of the venture-capital pie. Diversity in the ranks of decision-makers in venture funds can help change this. Further, to enhance female entrepreneurship, stakeholders should help facilitate business support and help build capacity in areas such as branding and marketing for women-led ventures.
Education is an enabler to harnessing female participation in entrepreneurial ventures and can be leveraged with several entrepreneurship courses available that can teach women the various aspects of running a business seek funding, creating and sustaining successful enterprises.
The road ahead is an uphill one with insufficient policies to support women in workplaces, and the gender-skewed impact of the pandemic has sharpened long-existing gender inequalities. Hence, organisations need to leverage their position and drive all stakeholders in empowering the other half.